Neil Humphreys: It's just one game, Gunners
If ever a single game summed up the relentless juggernaut of hype in English football, then it had to be the Community Shield on Sunday.
The Wembley walkabout has marginally more significance than a beach football contest between tourists at the Copacabana and is usually less attractive.
And yet, Arsenal are being hailed in some quarters as genuine title contenders; a team turning corners and rolling headfirst into a renaissance.
Having lifted two silver trinkets in two games, there has even been mention of the Gunners having a taste for trophies.
But the Community Shield isn't a real trophy; it's an octagonal silver slab that looks like a huge 50-pence piece has fallen from a giant's pocket.
The only difference between the Community Shield and other pre-season friendlies is the Wembley venue and the operatic pre-match rendition of the national anthem, which always sounds puffed up and overblown - a bit like the Gunners after their 3-0 victory over some strangely despondent Manchester City reserves.
Arsene Wenger spoke of creating a "positive platform" for the season, stressing the importance of a confidence-boosting win over the Premier League champions.
But the Gunners didn't defeat the champions; they brushed aside extras from The Walking Dead masquerading as the world's most expensive football club.
A team with Dedryck Boyata on the pitch and Scott Sinclair on the bench are always likely to have more in common with a comedy troupe than title contenders.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini left out nine senior players in the season's curtain-raiser; a decision that has angered City supporters who wasted a weekend to watch the farce.
In stark contrast, the Gunners' new signings - Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and Alexis Sanchez - all featured and enjoyed a sunny afternoon stroll knocking over sky-blue skittles.
Without a doubt, Arsenal offered glimpses of better days to come. All three goals were stamped with quality and class, either in the build-up or their execution.
Aaron Ramsey suggested again why those who had once written off both him and his manager really should read up on Wenger's measured, patient track record of nurturing young players until they come close to touching greatness.
The Welsh midfielder has gone from erratic to irreplaceable in a single campaign; an uplifting, rare example of a club being rewarded for their loyalty to both a player's potential and the manager's vision.
Chambers should benefit from a similarly long-term relationship with Wenger. Debuchy is more likely to replicate his France form in North London than he ever was in Newcastle. And Sanchez is a raging bull who will be finessed by his French manager until he doesn't treat every fixture like a china shop.
There are obviously rough edges for Arsenal's master sculptor to work on. If Sanchez proves malleable, he will be a magnificent addition to both Arsenal and the Premier League.
But the Gunners' spine remains strangely tender.
Wenger referred to Thomas Vermaelen's dignity after the Belgian centre back completed his move to Barcelona with a welcome lack of vindictive sniping at his former club. But Arsenal are now a centre back short and in the market for a replacement.
Chambers is not expected to be an Arsenal regular immediately, but an injury to either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny and the 19-year-old will be making the leap to manhood earlier than anticipated.
In central midfield, Mikel Arteta found himself not only promoted to permanent club captain, but also to a position of greater responsibility. He was effectively handed the role that Javier Mascherano mastered for Argentina against Holland in the World Cup.
Arteta sailed through the audition against Pellegrini's barely-conscious pedestrians. But the centre circle threatens to be a lonely place, with Ramsey and Jack Wilshere scampering forward to join in the foraging fun with Sanchez, Santi Cazorla or Mesut Oezil.
And, in the end, all roads could lead to Yaya Sanogo.
Ordinarily, they lead to Olivier Giroud, but form and fitness were often his foes last season. With Wenger favouring one man up front, Arsenal are left with the comparatively slim pickings of either Sanogo or Giroud.
Wenger is joining the dots, but there are gaps through the middle that are preventing him from painting a complete picture.
Arsenal can certainly take heart from defeating a City side they failed to beat twice last season - losing 6-3 away and drawing 1-1 at home - but Crystal Palace will offer a much sterner test this weekend.
One Wembley saunter does not make a season. All Community Shield victories must be treated with caution.
If giddy Arsenal followers require further advice, they should seek out David Moyes.
We have to be focused because the season will be a long one. We must not forget that it is a marathon and not a sprint, so we have to make sure that we keep going until the end.
— Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini
RAMSEY: WENGER CAN WIN TITLE
Arsene Wenger can cement his place among English football's greatest managers by leading Arsenal to Premier League glory this term, according to Aaron Ramsey.
Wales playmaker Ramsey's first-half finish helped drive Arsenal to 3-0 Community Shield victory over Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.
And the 23-year-old says long-serving Arsenal boss Wenger believes the Gunners can claim their first league title since 2004.
"I definitely think we can win the league - we were top of the table for the most amount of time last season," said Ramsey.
"The only thing we need to improve is our away record against the bigger teams. If we had managed to nick the odd point or win in those games, it would have been a lot closer last season, and maybe even we would have won.
"So that's something we can really focus on to work hard to improve."
Wenger signed a new three-year deal at the end of last season, leaving 30-cap Wales star Ramsey delighted the Frenchman will add to his 18 years in North London.
"It's great news and extremely pleasing for us as players that he (Wenger) signed that new contract," said Ramsey.
"Winning the league again would put him up there with the best managers ever in this league, no doubt.
"He's been very successful, he's built some great teams, and hopefully we can go on from last season and be successful again."
Ramsey also offers some valuable insight into the Wenger way of thinking.
"He's as excited as anybody about the new season, with the new players we've got coming in," said Ramsey.
"He realises what this team can do and believes that we can achieve.
"It's a big attraction to be at the club and be a part of things, in the way that he thinks the game should be played.
"He's a great man-manager, he knows how to handle players and what's best for them.
"The way that he believes the game should be played, his philosophy on the game is extremely exciting and gives players licence.
"He's very approachable and will always let players know how you can improve, or what you're doing well and things like that." - PA Sport.